A jury comprised of eight men and four women found Michael Socciarelli, 34, guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl from whom he had purchased alcohol.
On Tuesday, Socciarelli was found guilty of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sex act, third-degree rape, third-degree criminal sexual act, and first-degree sexual abuse. The Hopewell resident was found not guilty of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree criminal sexual act.
The jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours and submitted over seven notes to the judge requesting various read-backs of testimony, replays of the video confession and the definition of the charges.
It was a trial filled with surprises. During testimony from one of the family members who attended the party last August in Canandaigua at which the rape occurred, she revealed that there was video known to New York State Police investigators that was not presented to the Ontario County District Attorney’s office. The videos from the night, which were located and played to the jury, show Socciarelli and the minors partying it up into the late morning hours as they funneled Twisted Teas and the minors smoked pot.
Carrie Bleakley and Benjamin Gilmour handled Socciarelli’s defense as they attacked the contradictory statements of the younger family members, who according to their own testimony did little to deter Socciarelli from pawing over the youngest sister.
Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts presented two damaging pieces of evidence during the trial: Socciarelli’s videotaped confession where he admitted that the sex acts took place but insisted nothing was forced; and his DNA from the victim’s rape kit.